Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa, with a name that means “the victorious city.” It is located on both banks of the River Nile near the head of the river’s delta in northern Egypt and has been settled for more than 6,000 years, serving as the capital of numerous Egyptian kingdoms. Cairo is known locally as “Misr,” which is the Arabic name for Egypt, because of its centrality to Egyptian life.
Greater Cairo is spread across three of Egypt’s administrative governorates. The northeastern part is known as Kaliobia Governorate, while the west bank is part of the governorate of Giza, and the eastern parts and southeastern parts are other governorates known as Cairo governorate. The three districts are collectively known as greater Cairo. The city is marked by the traditions and influences of the East and the West, both the ancient and the modern
The city of Cairo covers an area of more than 453 square kilometers (more than 175 square miles), although it is difficult to geographically measure and separate the city from some of its immediate suburbs. Bracketed by the desert to the east, south, and west and bounded by the fertile Nile delta to the north, Cairo sits astride the river, though it spreads farther on the east bank than the west.
Cairo also includes several river islands, which play an important role in the life of the city. As the region’s principal commercial, administrative, and tourist center, Cairo contains many cultural institutions, business and corporate headquarters, governmental offices, universities, and hotels, which together create a busy stream of constant activity.
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